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Solent University has launched Springboard to Success with Commonwealth Games two times gold medallist and Solent graduate, Kelly Simm.

3rd October 2023
Homepage - News - Standard

Springboard to Success, a special one-off series of assembly’s, launched on Monday 2 October at Bitterne Park School, with more than 200 young people hearing about Kelly’s gymnastics career on the world stage.

Working in partnership with Solent, Kelly will now visit five other schools across Southampton to inspire, raise aspirations and encourage young people to pursue their goals.

Kelly says: “I am really looking forward to this collaboration with Solent University as we launch Springboard to Success.

“I have a fantastic relationship with the University which stems back to 2014 when I began my undergraduate degree. The support from my lecturers, the High Performance Academy and the University itself, was incredible in helping me to pursue my degrees alongside my international gymnastics career.

“During my time at Solent, I won four Commonwealth medals, a World Championship medal and became a British and World University Games All Around Champion. The experiences and challenges I have faced during my career as an elite gymnast, as well as the skills I have developed at university has taught me a lot. With this experience, I have worked with the team at Solent to design Springboard to Success, which is aimed at young people beginning secondary school.

“Springboard to Success uses my story to share tips on approaching new beginnings, the importance of working hard to reach goals, and asking for help when it’s needed. I’m excited to use my story to inspire and motivate young people to recognise the importance of pushing themselves to reach their potential.”

At the launch on Monday 2 October, Bitterne Park School pupil, Ella, said: “It was great to meet Kelly and hear about her life as a gymnast. Kelly reassured us that it’s normal to have ups and downs, and it was useful to learn about new beginnings.”

Across six schools, Springboard to Success will reach more than 1,000 students in Southampton. Solent University’s Senior Access and Widening Participation Officer, Simone Simmons, says:

“We’re passionate about connecting young people with our high-achieving graduates to show them first-hand that their futures can be limitless.

“We aim to encourage young people to embrace the opportunities that await them at university and instil them with a confidence and self-belief that will carry them into higher education and beyond. Working with Kelly to bring Springboard to Success into schools is allowing us to do just that.”

Nancy Austwick, Careers Lead at Bitterne Park School, says:

“We are delighted with our ongoing work with Solent University. We are passionate about raising aspirations in all our students and having a guest speaker like Kelly Simm is a fantastic opportunity.

“It’s hugely important for our students to engage with as many different role models as possible from outside their school community, to inspire and guide their future pathways. We are very grateful to Solent University and their Springboard to Success programme for this event.”

Solent University works closely with communities in Southampton to give young people the opportunity to reach their goals after school, providing free workshops, careers advice and campus visits.

Find out more about the work Solent does with schools and colleges here.